*Birdman Hand Rub* w/ a college degree
Time lapse of Earth.
DC Time Lapse
The jokes may be funny to some, but cutting sugar cane 200 years after slavery ended for next to nothing and the chance of being deported isn’t.
It could be that I can’t believe that I’m about to be a senior in college. It could be the fact that my grandmother isn’t as healthy as she once was. Either way, for the past few months I’ve been thinking back to how I got to where I am today. How this all started. With that, I can’t help but think of my mom and how far she has come from where she started. My dad died at a young age, so for as far as I can remember it was just my mother and I. Growing up I didn’t have the typical family experience (whatever that is). My elementary school was an hour away from where we lived, but right down the street from the middle school where my mom was an English teacher. The commute gave us a minimum of two hours of quality time together each day. When I started swimming in the second grade, things got more interesting. Although we lived an hour away from where a majority of our days took place, the drive back home during rush hour was unpredictable. (My mom is clever for this) Instead of sitting a car for three to four hours, my mother decided that I could swim across the street at the U (aka the University of Miami, canes fan for life if you ain’t know). By the time my practices were over, the streets were pretty clear. The one setback of this was that I usually ended up getting home around 7:45 at the earliest. For an elementary school student with more homework than most middle school students (I actually got more homework in elementary school than in middle school) and a commute that started at least half an hour before my peers were waking up. This meant that a morning ride to school where I wasn’t finishing French homework was very rare. The combination of morning traffic and a kid who at times needed help finishing assignments can easily lead to frustration. The rides back were usually much better. The nights where I wasn’t beat down from practice or asleep made for some random conversations. At times I sympathize with my mom for some of the things she may have had to listen to a nine-year old talk about. My mom and I made a great team. She always worked hard to make sure that I wouldn’t go without and to make sure that I can take advantage of all of the opportunities I had access to. I like to think that I was a little mature for my age, therefore always doing my part. Getting dressed in good time, walking the dogs while my mom got dressed, packing the car, and staying out of trouble while in school. Although these aren’t monumental things, I now see how they made it easier for my mom to look out for us. I always think we worked too hard to get this far even though my mom did a lot more work than I was doing at that age, but I played my part and I played it well. What always sticks out to me are the nights I was up late doing homework. Those were always the coldest nights. The night would usually end with my mom frustrated and me feeling exhausted. These nights weren’t the norm and they don’t even matter now, but it’s very representative of how we worked. We were always there each step of the way for each other. Out of convenience I often found myself at various meetings, offices and conferences. Despite this it was cool to be able to see what parts of my mom’s work up close. Just as found myself at the various UTD functions, my mom found herself at swim meets, career day presentations, school plays, and even the kitchen table as I was doing homework. As I got older, my mom began to travel more for her job. Despite her physical absence, I never felt like she was missing from my life. We always made sure to communicate frequently. This also helped me become more independent. I don’t remember the last time someone told me to do my homework, or reminded me to take a shower or clean up after myself. In high school, my grandmother worked from 9PM to 6AM. Often my mom would be out of town for weeks at a time, but I always managed to get my work done, wake up on time for school, make my own money, get to practice, and stay out of trouble. I’m still on my way and I have a lot farther to go, but so far our work has paid off. I found a school that I love and I’ve been able to pursue existing passions and discover new ones. I like to think that I’ve made wise decisions and have been able to do the right thing as I was taught. More so, I’ve gone through experiences that give me a firsthand understanding of why my mother worked so hard. It’s one thing to know appreciate your mom’s hard work, and it’s another to not be able to take advantage of an opportunity due to a lack of resources. That being said, it’s important for me to remember that I have a year left of school and I better do well. Actually, it doesn’t end at graduation. I need to take what I’ve learned and make something of myself. Not just for my mom, and me, but for all those in our family who worked so hard to put us in a position to be the great team that we are.